We’re going to file this post under “I am becoming my mother.”
This is Figgy.
Beautiful, isn’t she?
Figgy is a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, otherwise known as the plant you see in every interior design photo. Its official name is Ficus Lyrata and it is native to western Africa.
And, now, my house.
I’ll be honest: I’m not a green thumb kind of person. I’ve had a number of plants over the years, and the ones that have done the best (i.e., survived) are the hardy ones that like to be neglected—essentially, the ones that don’t need water. Cactus. I do well with cactus.
My mother, on the other hand, has dozens of plants in her home. It’s safe to say she has more than 100 plants. From orchids to violets to ferns to jade to a number of mysterious variegated ones, she’s got more than a green thumb. A green hand or hands are a better description. She probably could run a nursery or garden center. My lack of success in plant management has been a disappointment to her—How are you my daughter? She’s asked on many occasions—but things are changing.
Somehow, without thinking about it, I have acquired 12 plants in my house. Now, not quite the dozens of my mother, but in the double digits, people! This makes me a bit more serious in the plant world (at least, in my mind).
Three are the aforementioned cactus. The sit above my kitchen sink, and despite my complete lack of attention to them, do rather nicely.
Two are some palm-ish things I picked up at Home Depot. They live on the dresser in my bedroom, and get liquid when I dump the remnants of my nightly glass of water in them every other morning.
Two—a depressed lemon tree and a split leaf philodendron affectionately called Monstro’s Baby (the mother plan being, obviously, Monstro)—are on our deck. My husband hates the lemon tree (it hasn’t produced lemons since 2006 and is very prickly) and I hate Monstro’s Baby (unwieldy, ugly—pick your insult). Neither one of us wants the other’s plant to come back in the house now that it’s getting colder. So, they both wait outside for our very own Dayton Accord. Chances are, though, like many peace talks, no one is going to win. You can expect my 12 plants to decrease in number soon. (Monstro’s Baby is going down! That’s my version of plant smack talk.)
Three plants—a spider, a jade, and an I-don’t-know-what—occupy a corner of my kitchen counter, in front of the new window we put in this year. They are very happy. Here we also are plant sitting an orchid of my mother’s, which is sure to die at any moment, even with my mother’s frequent calls to water it.
And then we come to Figgy.
I have wanted a fiddle leaf fig for so long. I love their height, their floppy leaves, and the aesthetic they represent. The height is a big piece: we have the space for a big plant and Figgy made the cut. Plus, in the description of the fiddle leaf fig is said that they are “fortunately relatively tough plants…that can withstand less-than-perfect conditions [me] for a fairly long time.”
To get my Figgy, I got on our local nursery’s fiddle leaf fig call list last summer (these things are popular), and waited for them to ring me up when a shipment finally arrived. Figgy was the last one left when I got to there, and he was not in a good shape. The plant expert at the nursery said I was saving him by bringing him home (no pressure!). Luckily (and I really mean luckily), he has blossomed in the few short weeks he’s been in our house.
I named him, so he knows we love him. My mom—and the people at the nursery—said talking to your plants helps them thrive. (Watering them helps, too.) Figgy is right next to our dining table, beside our picture window. He’ll hear us talk and laugh every day. We’ll tell him good morning and good night. Hopefully, number 12 is the charm and my green thumb will shine. Fingers—green or otherwise—crossed.
More on fiddle leaf figs can be found here.
Figgy is really pretty. I want one….but I should probably start with a cactus first.